Russian President Putin has probably visited occupied territories in Ukraine again. Russian state media reports that in honor of Orthodox Easter, which was last Sunday, he entered into talks with Russian soldiers in the Kherson region. It would be the second time since mid-March that the Russian leader is in Ukraine.
Putin arrived by helicopter to encourage the armed forces on the ground, writes Ria Novosti. Putin is said to have asked the military how they experience the war: “It is important for me to hear your opinion on how the situation is developing.”
Watch footage of the supposed visit here:
After the visit to Kherson, he is said to have flown by helicopter to the headquarters of the Russian National Guard in the Luhansk region.
International news agencies were unable to verify the images released by Russia. Using public sources, fact-checkers on social media report that a number of images were indeed taken in Kherson and Luhansk, but it is unclear when.
According to the Kremlin, the visits took place yesterday. Russian Defense Minister Shoygu and army chief Gerasimov were not present at the working visit for security reasons. It is too dangerous for several senior figures within the army to visit a place so close to the front, the Kremlin said.
Last month, Russian state media released images of what would be a visit by Putin to Mariupol. The city, an important industrial center on the Sea of Azov, was taken by the Russians in May last year. Mariupol was the first major city taken by Russian troops after the attack on Kyiv was repelled by the Ukrainians.
Putin is said to have been in Mariupol on a “working visit”, focusing on what the Russians call rebuilding the city. According to state media, he then spoke to residents, visited a family’s refurbished house and inspected the marina and theater of Mariupol. He is also said to have visited Crimea, which was annexed in 2014.
- Kremlin: Putin traveled to Mariupol on first visit to occupied Ukrainian territory